The Various Applications of Roses
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Your lips taste
Like fresh morning dew
Roses are red
Dripping with sin
Come little sweetheart
And please let me in
Roses are red
Covered in ash
My heart breaks apart
At your verbal bash
Roses are red
Crimson in hue
A lust they spark
Just thinking of you
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Sugar is sweet
But it will ruin your teeth and it's before dinner so put that down and come help your poor mother set the table, will ya?
Three Little Words
Three little words
That's all she wanted
Just three little words to make her feel
All the fuss, the pomp
The ritual of it
Just three little words to validate her effort
"You smell intoxicating"
But I couldn't
I couldn't do it
I couldn't give her that affirmation
Because I can't fucking smell
So don't hold it against me
The Car Ride
H: You shot me.
E: Yeah, sorry. But you did kidnap me. And were planning on killing me.
H: What? I was going to turn you in.
E: Maybe. Either way, I couldn't risk just sitting around in that motel. Crow.
H: He has no idea where you are.
E: He was minutes away in Africa. I even passed him on my way out.
H: He didn't see you?
E: Have you already forgotten?
H: Right, possession. So you got away cleanly. You didn't have to fucking shoot me!
E: Oh my god, I'm sorry. Your leg will be fine.
H: Ugh. I can't believe you abducted me from the hospital.
E: You agreed to come.
H: You didn't exactly give me much choice.
E: Yet you'd still rather come with me than risk being arrested by Crow?
E: Now you see why I shot you.
[Posted ~1 year ago; chosen because it's my favorite completed piece I've done]
It was the same smell, day after day. Every day. Potatoes with a hint of what was supposed to be cheese. Tolande sat on the chilled bench and begrudgingly ate the sludge that was passed on as food.
"Hey, it's the infinity man," a man called out.
Tolande didn't bother looking at the origin of the taunting voice. It was all he could do to swallow his meal; jeers were the least of his concerns.
"Hey, man," a female voice spoke.
Tolande finally looked up to see a woman and two men taking seats at the same table. He quickly turned back to his food.
"You're the guy, right?" the woman asked. "You're the guy who survived? Inside the Maw?"
"Yeah," another guy added sarcastically. "He just survived entering a black hole. And then escaped. Like magic." He let out a gleeful roar, joined by the other man who had sat down.
"Shut up," the woman scolded. "Tolande, right?"
Tolande responded by loudly slurping the rest of the mush on his tray. "I enjoyed eating with you all," he politely said, and walked away from the table. As he left the cafeteria, Tolande heard the murmured scoldings of the woman to her two friends.
Tolande found everything about the cafeteria unnerving. The shiny, brushed metal surfaces; the sterilizers constantly humming; the food that wasn't food; it all dug its way deep into his consciousness. Yet it was the hallway connecting the cafeteria to the rest of the space station that bothered Tolande the most. Just outside the window, the Maw floated almost peacefully in space, gobbling up any bits of matter that found its unfortunate way too close to the black hole. The rings of fire from other black holes used to be a beautiful sight, always spinning; it reminded him of pinwheels.
Tolande made his way to the transporter and teleported to the living quarters. He stepped off the transport platform and into a great room buzzing like an ant mound.
High ceilings caused the chatter to bounce and garble as people flowed by in snaking lines. The windowless, gray room felt cold, as if the atmospheric controls were too stressed to provide ample heat despite the mass of bodies.
Tolande cut through the horde as he headed to the crew's quarters. Before he could reach the corridor, a familiar voice called to him.
"Tol," the man said.
Tolande turned around to see a tall, slender creature with webbed hands approach him. Its slender face came to a dulled point with slitted nostrils on either side. Where one would expect ears, mounded holes bubbled up from its skin.
"Kroska," Tolande replied to the Trillen.
Kroska walked over to Tolande and spread his arms out for a big hug, revealing thin flaps running up each arm.
As the two men ended the embrace, Kroska revealed a large grin through his widened cheeks and open mouth. It was difficult for a Trillen to smile due to their avian heritage. "I never expected to see you here," Kroska chuckled. "What with the Maw."
Tolande avoided the topic. "It's good to see you again."
"Yes," Kroska agreed. "It's been ages. But now, it feels good. I can say I'm happy to see you without you being my enemy."
Tolande looked at his shoes, uncomfortable with talking about the war.
Oblivious to Tolande's reaction, Kroska continued. "You may not be well accepted by my people, but you will always have a friend. I, nor my family, will ever forget Tralka."
Tolande remembered the planet well. His ship, like Kroska's, had crashed on the barren rock during one of the skirmishes. The red, jagged sand and constant electrical storms hampered survival for both ships' crew. It was only when Tolande killed his superior to negotiate truce with the Trillen that hope of survival became reality.
Tolande looked back at his friend. "Trillen are nicer to me than others humans," he remarked. "Your people are more accustomed to war; if you held grudges, every little war would tear your families apart."
Kroska bellowed. "Good point. When the average family has 30 offspring, you're bound to fight a relative with as often as we fight amongst ourselves." Another awkward smile formed on Kroska's face.
Tolande's voice deepened. "My people, we like to think we're good, above the chaos of conflict." His voice became stressed and heavy as he continued musing. "Humans don't want to admit that I was just following orders passed down by Naval Command. It's easier to treat me as a criminal, like a serial killer, than as a survivor."
Kroska and Tolande looked at each other, both with grim appreciation.
"Are you staying?" Tolande asked.
"No," answered Kroska. "I'm just passing through. But when I heard you were staying on Armistice Station, I wanted to find you. Say hello."
Tolande and Kroska hugged once more and departed. Tolande weaved through the crew's quarters until he arrived at his own room. He trudged to the bed and collapsed onto it, not bothering to change out of his work uniform. Quickly, Tolande fell asleep and found himself in a recurring dream.
"Run diagnostics," barked the chief engineer.
Tolande looked up from his station at the device and glared at his senior officer. "We've run them five times already. All the same. Everything's green."
"You sure, Tol?" the chief questioned.
"It's a prototype," Tolande shouted back over the growing roar of the ship's engine. "I helped design her. She's running within tolerance. That's the best I can give you."
The chief nodded from her terminal and initiated the communications system to speak to the captain. "Engineering is ready. BHED is online and within tolerances."
The captain's voice rang out over the engineering intercom. "Will it work?"
The chief looked Tolande in the eye and she answered. "Hopefully."
The intercom clicked as the captain terminated the link. Tolande turned back to the device interface and ran another diagnostic despite offering assurances. Another click of the intercom interrupted his work.
"This is a ship-wide announcement. We're ready." The captain's voice came through the crackly speakers with a calm confidence of a man knowing his fate long before it arrives. "Today we will be flying into the heart of the Trillen fleet to detonate the black hole bomb Naval Science has been building. For those of you who volunteered for this mission, know that you have my thanks. Your bravery and honor provide the foundation I've needed to keep this mission on course."
The captain paused for a moment, leaving a hole of silence throughout the ship. Tolande looked around the engineering bay to see other members nervously avoiding eye contact.
"Those of you who are here against your will, know this: myself and my crew do not view you as criminals. You have all carried yourself with dignity in an undignified situation. No man or woman should ever be sentenced to committing their own suicide. Yet for the past few months, you have all served like the men and women of the Navy you are, not the deserters or traitors you've been labeled."
Tolande began to reflect on his actions on Tralka; would he have done something different had he known that this was the outcome? Perhaps not, yet being forced to work on the Black Hole Entropic Dilation bomb for the past year wasn't the fate he expected after saving his crew from the inhospitable planet.
"... and today we win this war." The captain had finished his speech and the intercom clicked off yet again.
Tolande rolled himself over to the diagnostic terminal next to the device to watch the ship as it flew lead into the Trillen fleet. The heavily armored barge wasn't the most visually stunning spaceship Tolande had ever crewed, but it would withstand the bombardment of Trillen weaponry.
"100,000 kilometers out," the chief yelled. None of the crew reacted.
Tolande watched and listened as the chief called out the closing distances as the ship neared the Trillen fleet. With only a few seconds before they reached weapons range, Tolande pulled over a safety harness to keep him tightly in the chair.
"Weapons range," the chief yelled. "5,000 kilometers to the target."
The intercom clicked again. "60 seconds to target, chief," the captain said.
Tolande was unnerved by the quiet serenity in the captain's voice. He swung back to the device's console and input the detonation sequence. "BHED is primed," he yelled.
"BHED is primed," the chief repeated.
"Weapon primed," the captain relayed to the bridge crew.
The ship began to shake as incoming weapons fire from the Trillen fleet pelted the barge. Electrical systems began to short circuit under the stress of absorbing the extra energy.
"Keep her together, chief," the captain's voice called out over the scratchy intercom.
"Yes sir," she squeaked back.
Tolande blocked out the orders she gave to other engineers until he heard his name called.
"Tol, 10 seconds," the chief yelled.
"Ready, sir," he responded.
The pounding of weapons discharge shook the ship violently, knocking much of the crew to the ground. Tolande took one last look at the terminal to see that most of the Naval fleet had retreated from the battlefield.
"Activate the weapon," ordered the captain.
Tolande hit the button to activate the black hole bomb. The whir of machinery oozed out of the plastic case as the device triggered.
A shockwave emanated from the BHED and all sound appeared to mute. For an instant, the crew appeared to turn a reddish hue before completely disappearing before Tolande's eyes. The entire ship had disappeared, with exception to anything within 2 meters of the device. As he looked left, Tolande saw the remains of an arm that had been severed cleanly. Quickly, the fate of the surrounding Trillen ships rushed towards him; he saw thousands of ships crumple like bits of paper as they converged to a point within the device's casing. An instant later, the naval vessels that had assisted in the assault came rushing in, strung out into little strings of twine.
"What have we done," Tolande muttered to himself as the surrounding space grew brighter until the entire black hole appeared to be streaks of light snaking out towards the event horizon.
The obnoxious sound of his morning alarm woke Tolande from the dream. It was more a memory, a dramatic retelling of how his brain had processed the event that created the Maw, the first known artificial black hole.
With a pained grunt, Tolande rolled off of his bed and peeled off his clothes on the way to the shower.